Weezy wrote:Well, tonight was maybe the worst game I've ever seen Nash play lol. I don't know what was up just wasn't his night. I also don't know if his passes were bad or he and his new teammates aren't on the same page yet or a little of both, but it was ugly. He did have that one nice little floater or flip shot in the lane though. I'm not worried about Nash at all though, he's one of the smartest players in the league he and the the rest of the team will get on the same page at some point.
Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun wrote:After the Los Angeles Lakers signed Steve Nash to a three-year contract in July, they marched the veteran point guard outside their practice facility and lined him up under a street sign for some pictures.
The Lakers practise at the Toyota Sports Center in suburban El Segundo, on Nash St.
Hence the obvious promotional shots.
A harbinger of great things to come? Possibly. Of course the Lakers didn't go so far as renaming a street in honour of their newest superstar. But it's an amusing coincidence and perhaps another sign as to why Nash really does belong in L.A.
Nash almost became a Toronto Raptor this off-season. But at the end of the day, the two-time NBA most valuable player signed a three-year sign-and-trade with the Lakers to play alongside fellow NBA stars Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard (who came on board later in the off-season). L.A. is also a quick flight away from Nash's former home, Phoenix, where his two young daughters, Lola and Bella, and infant son, Matteo, reside with their mom, Nash's ex-wife Alejandra.
Nash has only a few good years left and has never won an NBA title, and the Lakers seem the best bet to achieve that goal (even more so than the New York Knicks, who also courted the Canadian).
As well, living in Los Angeles affords Nash the chance to pursue his interest in filmmaking -- something he has already undertaken with success, most notably co-directing the Terry Fox documentary Into the Wind with cousin Ezra Holland for ESPN's 30-for-30 series. But that doesn't mean Nash -- a proud Canadian who recently became general manager of the men's national basketball team -- wasn't nearly a Raptor and wasn't pumped about possibly finishing his career in Toronto.
In an interview with QMI Agency last week, Nash confirmed he was on the verge of signing a deal with the Raptors. GM Bryan Colangelo reportedly offered the Victoria, B.C., product a three-year, $36-million contract -- close to $10 million more than he received from the Lakers.
"I was very close, you know," Nash said. "Because it appeared that they were going to be an option long before free agency started. So I got my head around that and I was comfortable with that and happy with the opportunity to play in Toronto. But when this opportunity (with the Lakers) became a reality, I couldn't pass it up."
The Lakers are the most important professional sports franchise in southern California, though you'd never know it from a visit to the Toyota Sports Center, which at first glance appears to be much more of an ice-sports complex than a centre for hoops excellence.
Banners along the exterior of the nondescript building proudly identify the place as The home of Evan Lysacek, the 2010 Olympic Games men's singles figure skating champion (and, if you remember, the guy widely criticized by former Canadian skating great Elvis Stojko for not attempting a quad at the Vancouver Games).
There is also a large Los Angeles Kings banner out front and, on this day, eight members of the locked-out defending Stanley Cup champions practise on one of the facility's three ice surfaces, under a giant image of Lord Stanley's Cup. There's also a pickup hockey game in another rink and figure skaters practising in the third. Sprinkled throughout the lobby are trophies won by the Kings youth teams and various figure skaters.
To get to the Lakers practice gym, you have to head outside and walk down the side of the building to an inconspicuous door that leads to a hallway and the gym. The only hint that some big-name NBA stars are present is the row of luxury cars lined up outside. The gym is functional, if unspectacular, although there is an impressive row of retired jerseys lined up on one wall, including those of former Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Magic Johnson and James Worthy. But while the gym itself is underwhelming, the talent on the floor certainly is not. And that, ultimately, is why Steve Nash is a Los Angeles Laker -- which, he insisted, is not a slight against the Raptors, or Colangelo, or his home country, or anything else.
It's all about winning. Even with Nash in the fold, the Raptors weren't going to win anything this season, and probably not next season, either. Still, that didn't stop a great many Raptors fan from pounding on Nash for turning his back on the only Canadian team in the NBA. Captain Canada, as Nash was called when he still played for the national team, was branded a traitor, and worse.
Nash heard and read the criticisms and it hurt. But he was eager on this day to make the point that he didn't use the Raptors in some diabolical way to garner a better deal in New York or L.A., and was sincerely excited about the prospect of playing on home soil.
"It wasn't in any way like, 'Oh well, I gotta go to Toronto.' I was thrilled," Nash said.
"Unfortunately it wasn't a team contending for a championship. But I love Toronto, it's home in many senses. And I think it's a first-class organization and a first-class city and I would have been extremely proud to play for them and represent the city, and play for those fans and hopefully help get that team into the playoffs."
An advantage of playing in T.O., Nash said -- aside from trying to help the Raptors reach the post-season for the first time since 2008 -- was his role as GM of the national team. (Nash also has been criticized, including in this corner numerous times, for quitting the national team as a player in 2004).
"It would have been a different situation," he said of playing in Toronto. "It would have been rewarding in other ways, but I wouldn't have had an opportunity to play on a team with as much talent as we have and hopefully be a contender."
The only worry in L.A. seems to be: Can Nash keep his fellow Laker superstars productive and happy, most notably 14-time all-star Bryant, who is used to being the primary ball-handler and the centre of the team's vast universe. Those concerns, at least for now, have been swept out to the Pacific Ocean. Every Lakers star has come out in support of having Nash, a five-time NBA assist leader, on the team, including Bryant.
"He just makes the game easy," Bryant said. "It's a joy for me. I've had to score and facilitate my entire career. I don't have to do that now, and I'm pretty happy about it."
If Bryant is happy and healthy, and all-star centre Howard returns to form following back surgery this year, it's almost frightening what the Lakers might achieve with Nash running the offence.
The Raptors, meanwhile, probably will struggle to make the playoffs, though Colangelo was applauded for some off-season moves that did come together, including the signing of point guard Kyle Lowry and small forward Landry Fields -- in a move originally designed to help facilitate Nash's move to Toronto.
Still, Nash moving to L.A. continues to leave a sour taste with some NBA fans, as his signing in Tinseltown seems to be yet another example of a veteran star joining an already star-laden team in a glamorous location, which seems to be the credo in the league these days: Load the big markets with stars, and the hell with everyone else. Meanwhile, so-called backwoods markets, including Toronto, are up against the wall in terms of attracting free agents of any major significance.
Nash has heard these complaints. And he's sympathetic, although he doesn't necessarily believe that the stars aligning in certain NBA galaxies is necessarily a bad thing.
"I think there are a lot of fans, a lot of basketball fans, a lot of casual fans who love it," he said. "And I think there are also a lot of fans, probably mostly in smaller markets, who don't love it. I think the bottom line is ... it is what it is. We're in this cycle. I think the game is benefiting from it, the game is growing and I think it's very successful financially, so we'll see.
"It's a trend. I think everything's cyclical in life, and sports is no different. I think we've seen the league trend in this way before and now it's going through this again. At some point it will probably even itself out."
What Nash would dearly love to see is for the NBA return to his home province. The Vancouver Grizzlies joined the league in 1995, the same year as the Raptors, but relocated to Memphis following the 2000-2001 season, the victim, in part, to a weak Canadian dollar, bad management and poor draft picks. But Nash believes under the right circumstances the NBA can succeed in Canada's second largest city. There have been rumblings, mostly wishful thinking perhaps, that the NBA does want to give Vancouver another shot.
"That would be great," said Nash, who owns a piece of the MLS Vancouver Whitecaps. "I think it could work. It would be tough, but I think it could work. And I think the lessons learned the first time and lack of, let's say, certainty, would really benefit it's cause.
"Toronto is one of the bigger cities in North America (and) Vancouver isn't quite on that level. But I think it's still a great sports community and it's very viable, especially considering some of the failing cities we've got right now."
Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register wrote: Steve Nash's feet were tired after the first practice.
Granted, it was nearly four hours of practice on the first day.
And considering the full workload Nash has taken on in his first Lakers training camp at 38, it's understandable for there to be some wear and tear by now.
It's two weeks later, midway through the exhibition schedule. So Lakers coach Mike Brown was strongly, strongly considering not playing Nash on Tuesday night at Honda Center
Except ... it was the Lakers' only appearance in Orange County — Brown's own home turf with his family's residence in Anaheim Hills. Brown eventually came around and decided not to deprive the fans of their first chance to see Nash as a Laker.
Brown was already sitting Pau Gasol to rest him, and Dwight Howard has yet to debut after spinal surgery. So instead of muting the excitement over the new four-star Lakers by serving up only one of them, Brown relented and played Nash for the entire first quarter — though no more than that.
Kobe Bryant took advantage of Nash sitting in the third quarter to stop experimenting with new stuff and go "back to the basics" and shoot 9 for 11 from the field (after going 1 for 7 in the first half), scoring 23 of the Lakers' 24 points. The Lakers were still routed by the Jazz, 114-80.
The good thing for the Lakers was that Nash felt up to the task of tending to the Lakers' business responsibilities by participating Tuesday night. For all the talk about his age, consider what he said before that first long practice: "I feel as good as I've ever felt. So we'll see if that's the truth or if Father Time's catching up with me. But I have to say I feel as good as I've ever felt."
The only significant pains so far are growing ones from joining an offense that won't revolve around his pick-and-roll thrusts four out of five plays have been evident at times, including in the first quarter Tuesday. Nash had three turnovers in the last 1:25 of the period, including one where he threw the ball left and Bryant went right.
"We're a work in progress," Nash said later. "That's the bottom line."
But let's note one other play between the two from early in the game:
Nash drove from the left, and Bryant flared out to the right with his defender, Utah's Alec Burks, in position to deny. Nash threw the pass toward Bryant anyway. Burks had his head turned toward Bryant, not Nash.
The whole Jazz bench, standing behind Bryant, screamed and waved and freaked out that Nash actually threw the pass, imploring Burks to put his hands up.
By the time Burks did, the ball had gone right over his head and nestled into Bryant's waiting hands.
The Lakers expect Nash's brilliant sense of passing angles to pay dividends.
What about his defense, which has been known as suspect for years?
Here's Brown on that: "He's picked up our principles and is really trying. I like the way he's been defending."
Brown's oft-repeated position upon taking the Lakers' job last season was that he could even take a sports writer and make him a decent defender. That's how much of it is effort and more effort.
Indeed, there was Nash during the one quarter he played Tuesday, closing out on shooters very hard and even diving to save a ball in front of the Lakers' bench — an excited Brown pushing him back into the play as Nash got up.
If Nash had been injured on the play, Brown might have never forgiven himself for deciding to play him in the game.
That's why Brown has been conservative so far, even giving players Wednesday off despite just giving them Sunday off. Nash will probably get one of the remaining exhibition games off. Bryant has already skipped one, and Howard is being handled with care.
For the not-so-young Lakers at this point, better safe than sorry.
noobiew wrote:We need to run more Steve Nash offense and less Princeton offense, where 90% of the times the ball should be with Nash hand.
wcsoldier81 wrote:Hopefully he will have more the ball in his hands and run more PNR when the regular season start ...
If not it will be the biggest waste of skills ever
Lakerjones wrote:wcsoldier81 wrote:Hopefully he will have more the ball in his hands and run more PNR when the regular season start ...
If not it will be the biggest waste of skills ever
^^ Agreed. The second half of the game yesterday was just painful. First half was awesome. I mean, does running the offense necessitate going completely away from picks for Nash? What is that? Why can't someone, anyone set him a pick in the backcourt when the defense picks him up for full court pressure? Can't you do that for your freaking point guard? I didn't see anyone doing so for what seemed like the entire second half. I mean, just as a courtesy, you know, at least? No picks at all?
Lakerjones wrote:Forklift wrote:Is it just me or is anyone else concerned about Nash's Ankle????
I was really worried when he turned it, but after seeing him come back - not so much. He's a warrior.
Tobias Funke wrote:I think they'll let him do his thing more once the games matter, and over the course of the season a balance will be developed. Right now using this time to work on the new offense is the right thing to do (unless they decide to move away from it, which is another story altogether).
Nash has been doing his thing forever, he's not going to get rusty if he sets that aside for a few preseason games to practice another offense.
therealdeal wrote:Lakerjones wrote:Forklift wrote:Is it just me or is anyone else concerned about Nash's Ankle????
I was really worried when he turned it, but after seeing him come back - not so much. He's a warrior.
Yep. It looked awful, but he was evaluated on the spot, seemed fine, and actually came back and played. I think he'll be sore for a bit, but he's a warrior for sure.
karacha wrote:Well, if we're running Princeton and he does not have a chance for a good P&R... he should be shooting more, because he's an elite shooter. I would have absolutely no problems with him spotting up for some shots.
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